Today was my second and last full day to explore Berlin. If there is one thing I would have changed about the trip having experienced it now is to give myself more time here. Berlin has a lot to offer for the tourist looking to experience something. But you have to have the time to fit it all in and two full days is just not enough.
I spent a little time this morning working out what would make the best use of my day. Since in the afternoon I had arranged to meet a friend who lives in Berlin for coffee. The biggest challenge I faced in deciding what to see and where to go is the two sides to Berlin. On the one hand, there is the museums and memories of the war and division the city has faced in the past. While the other hand is seeing where the city has worked to build a beautiful place to live and move forward from the past.
I decided to start with a site that does look back to the past of the city at the Berliner Mauer (East Side Gallery). The gallery is a 1.3km section of the Berlin Wall that remains standing. There is an excessive amount of Graffiti on the wall on one side.
However, the other side of the wall is an extensive collection of more specific artworks. Some of the artwork is visual depictions of the wall coming down. While other pieces on the wall are no so easy to interpret what the artist was trying to convey. 118 artists from 21 countries have created the artworks that make up the Berliner Mauer.. Before 1990 when they created they would never have been allowed in the west of Berlin.
Berlin In Miniature
In the past, I have visited some different miniature displays or villages. There was exhibits in Victoria BC and a model village in England (Babbacombe Model Village). However, neither have been created to the size and scale and accuracy of Berlin In Miniature.
It ‘s hard for me to picture everything around the city because I have seen very little of the city so far. But there are a large number of monuments and buildings that are recognisable from my visit so far. I would say it is well worth the time to visit if you are in Berlin. Even with the large display that is already here, they are working on a large expansion right now.
After visiting so many churches in Vienna recently, I have been looking to visit some here in Berlin. St. Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church) is close to the TV Tower which I visited yesterday.
From the outside, it is easy to see a difference in construction between the tower and the rest of the building. The result of being damaged in World War II and repairs being made in 1950.
When you go inside the church, it is rather simple, especially compared to the churches in Vienna. However, I have found that the more simple a place is, the more pleasant it can be as well. One of the main features that caught my attention is not quite as simple. It is the rather beautiful pipe organ in the church. Alas, I will miss being able to visit and hear a performance by just one day.
On the way to meet my friend, I decided to stop at one more church. The largest church in Berlin, Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral). From the outside, the building is rather grand and dominates the skyline from the nearby open square. Once you get inside the building seems even larger than from the outside.
I appear to have this magnetic attraction to buildings that require you to use stairs to access the best view points. You have the ability to climb the stairs here to an excellent view of the city. The stairs take you to a walkway that completely encircles the bottom of the dome. The only mistake I made was going to Crypt first, so I had to walk up all of the stairs in one go, about 298 in total.
One of the primary things that I have noticed with all of the different churches I have recently visited is the alters. Even though they are all very different and someone unique to the church, they all seem to be able to depict the same symbolism. Below is the main altar in Berliner Dom, it is a rather decorative and ornately designed.
Another rather unique and individual feature of each church is the pipe organ. Some like the one in Berliner Dom are rather ornate and a very prominent feature. While in other churches they are not so prominent.
A Great Day
After spending a couple of hours catching up with my friend it was time to head back to the hotel. All up though I am happy with what I managed to fit into the day. There is still more that I have to share from yesterday though, which I will hopefully put together while waiting at airports tomorrow.